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Continuing on to Palm Sunday (Spiritual Investment) March 9, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Luke, Palm Sunday, Religion, Sermons.
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SPIRITUAL INVESTMENT

Luke 19:11-27

 

Jesus talked a lot about money. Often he talked about its relationship to spiritual things but in this parable we have a situation where Jesus is using money, not to make a point about money but to make a point about faith in Christ. What Jesus is doing in this parable is evaluating faith by the spiritual investment that one makes.

 

The Background of this Parable

The Political Background (verses 12, 14, 27). This parable is one of the few times that Jesus makes reference to historical events. The details spoken of in verses 12 and 14 actually happened. Herod the Great died shortly after his attempt to kill Jesus by having all the children younger than two years old in the area of Bethlehem killed. Of course, Jesus was in or on His way to Egypt at that time. Herod was succeeded unofficially as king at the age of eighteen. The people, led by the Pharisees, demanded the punishment of the former councilors of Herod who had brought about the martyrdom of the Pharisees Matthias and Judas and demanded on the day before Passover—a day when all Palestine, so to speak, was in Jerusalem— immediate action. In the massacre that ensued, three thousand were left dead upon the Temple pavements. As soon as the tumult had been somewhat allayed, Archelaus hastened to Rome to secure the required confirmation of his succession from Augustus. Among the opposition to his confirmation were the Jews of Palestine, who sent a deputation of fifty persons who petitioned for the exclusion of the Herodians from any share whatever in the government of the land, and for the incorporation of Judea in the province of Syria.

You can imagine that this beginning got people’s attention. What political statement is Jesus going to make? Is He going to set Himself up against Herod’s family and the Roman soldiers who back them up? As you can see though, Jesus goes a different direction with this parable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spiritual Background (verses 11, 13-14, 26).

The people were expecting Jesus to set up His kingdom (verse 11). There are those who claim that Jesus never really offered Himself as the Messiah to the Jews. They are making the same mistake that these people made. These people did not understand that the offer of the kingdom of the Messiah was an offer of both a spiritual kingdom and an earthly kingdom. Although Jesus repeatedly tried in those days to clarify to the people the complete nature of the kingdom of God, most of them did not get it. In fact, it is likely that none of them fully understood it until Christ ascended into heaven and He was no more with them on the earth.

The parable is not directed towards those who hated Jesus but towards those who considered themselves His followers (verses 13-14). This parable represents one of the apparent failures of Jesus. It is obvious that he tells this parable for the purpose of defusing this exuberant crowd of kingmakers whose ringleaders happen to be His own disciples. Not that Jesus did not present Himself as the King and Messiah of the Jews, He did? He wanted, however, those following Him to understand that His coming was about more than political power but about spiritual faith.

The subject of the parable is faith while waiting (verse 26 compared with Luke 8:18 following the Parable of the Four Soils). Can you imagine Judas as he is listening? He has not yet betrayed Jesus. That will happen in just a few days. Perhaps he is still loyal to Jesus. He along with some of this crowd who are rejoicing and praising God and glorifying Christ will turn on Him when He does not set up His kingdom as they are expecting. Others like Peter will slip away claiming that they have no knowledge of Jesus Christ. This parable is a warning to those people. Jesus is saying, “If you do not spiritually investment in me, you will lose the truth that I have given you.” In other words, Jesus is drawing a line in the sand and demanding that they cross over, no matter what the cost may be.

 

The Expected Investment – As I mentioned before, although Jesus is using money to illustrate spiritual truth, His point is not really about money. He is talking about the investment of faith in Him. He is clarifying to His disciples, both the Twelve and the multitude that is following Him, what it truly means to invest in Jesus Christ.

The expected percentage of spiritual investment (verses 13-23). The nobleman gives each servant a mina. “A mina was a Greek coin. The coinage system worked like this: The lowest level was the drachma, equal to one day’s wages. One hundred drachmas equaled one mina. Sixty minas equaled one talent. Therefore, a mina represented approximately 100 days’ wages, or about three months pay. In today’s terms, that might equal [several thousand dollar]. It’s not a fortune, but it’s enough to invest if a man knows what he is doing“ (Copied from Ray Pritchard). It is obvious what he wants them to do with the money and it is also obvious that he expects 100% of the money to be invested.

Now this is consistent with what we have seen of Jesus’ teaching. Look back at 18:22-23, 29-30. Christ demands total investment. Sometimes we read of those who have believed in vain. This seems to be what Jesus is addressing in this parable. There are those who believe but for some reason their faith has no root. For one, the tough times come and he turns his back on Christ. For another, prosperity is showered on her and she gets her eyes off of Christ and drifts away from the truth. Jesus is saying those people are not 100% spiritually invested in me.

The expected length of time for spiritual investment (verses 11, 13, 23). They are to invest until the nobleman returns. This is the core of the truth that Jesus is teaching. He is telling them that there will be a delay. They do not hear this but he says it anyway. He does not tell them how long the delay is. What is asks is, when I am gone and I am no longer doing miracles in your presence, where will you be?

The expected reward for spiritual investment (verses 24-26). They will receive more than they invested. Jesus referred to this fact in 18:30. In that verse he mentions that what they will receive is many times much more that what they will give up. He also mentions that they will receive both in this life and the life to come. This parable explains for us how that works. If you have the truth and receive the truth, there will be a spiritual investment. If you have the truth but do not receive the truth, there will be no spiritual investment. There is no middle ground.

 

 

 

 

 

Why did this servant not invest his master’s money? He knew the master on a superficial level (verses 20-23). Do you know why Judas betrayed Jesus? He had a superficial understanding of who Jesus is. Why did the multitude forsake Him? They had a superficial understanding of Christ’s character. Even the eleven who remained faithful to Jesus showed by there reactions that they still did not know their master as they should have and the Bible makes it clear that they, unlike Judas, were believers.

 

What is amazing is the answer that the man gave to his master. It is almost as if he is blaming his master for the lack of responsibility that he has shown. There are many who seem to be blaming God for their lack of faith, for their lack of response to the truth but Christ will not allow such an excuse.

 

Now there are three possibilities here as to what type of person this man is. Some would say that he is a believer who loses rewards because he did not use the gifts and talents and time and money and relationships that the Lord has given him. In other words, he did not invest Himself into the Lord’s work. While this is certainly taught in other places, I do not believe that is what is being taught here.

 

Others would suggest that this man is losing His salvation. Certainly he is maintaining some type of connection with the master and he is not in open rebellion against the master but we see from his characterization of the master that he does not really have true faith. During the last few weeks we have looked at true faith in Christ and this man does not appear to have true faith. He has a faith that is without works. His faith is dead.

 

I would submit to you that this man is not a believer. He’s a hanger on. He fits in well with the other servants but he has no true faith.

 

This is the message of this parable. Jesus is telling them, I am the king but my kingdom will not be set up immediately. Can your faith endure until it is?

 

Now if you know that you have accepted Christ as your Savior, that you are 100% invested in Jesus Christ, you may be asking yourself, what am I to do until He returns. Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1 before He returned to heaven.

 

6 ¶ Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

In other words, tell the world about me.

 

There are three categories of people seen in this parable: Christ’s enemies, those who totally reject Him; then there are those who are 100% invested in Jesus Christ; and finally there are those who like Jesus, think a lot of Him but when push comes to shove they have hedged their bets. In which category are you? Unless you are 100% invested in Jesus Christ, you need to put your faith in Him. Do this today.

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